This afternoon, I plan to cook Sunday dinner for my mum. The traditional roast beef serving to be dished up with roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, cauliflower, broccoli and sprouts.
After this gorging on meat and vegetable West Yorkshire will be issued with a red weather alert. This notice warning of horrific winds ahead, particularly in the southern domain of Leeds.
Mercifully, with being so far from the nearest coast, these ‘gales’ shouldn’t warrant mention on the BBC’s shipping forecast. Consequently any boats located in the Tyne, Humber, Dogger Bank and Viking areas this evening can rest easy.
In the days when calming boisterous children with Bailey’s infused bedtime milk was frowned upon, my parents occasionally utilised this broadcast to induce bedtime tranquility in their young offspring. This ordinarily undertaken during the infrequent evenings a fraught atmosphere lingered within the Strachan home.
This approach embarked upon to counter parental malcontent consequential from my brother Ian smashing another family ornament with a football. Or, indeed, me antagonising the brood with raucous crowd noises and commentary during Subbuteo games with my sibling, while they floundered at hearing the TV.
Unaware at that age these soothing maritime weather warnings were being used as a psychological calming strategy, I was baffled why my parents sought out the information bequeathed by this well-meaning shipping advice.
After all, my dad wasn’t a man of the sea. As I recall the only water we sailed during my childhood was the pond at Gateshead’s Saltwell Park, Leeds’ Roundhay Park lake, along with the Mere in Scarborough…… To my knowledge, that trinity of water expanses weren’t ever included in the shipping forecast.
Delivered in a ‘BBC English’ dialect, details of the upcoming sea conditions for Fisher, Dogger Bank, Cromaty, Malin, Rockall et al held little interest for this young lad.
Their locations were alien to me and, from what I was hearing about their lousy weather, the BBC weren’t succeeding at selling them as future holiday destinations.
At that time in the 1970’s I didn’t have time to learn the location of Fitzroy, German Bight and Viking; there was too much football and cricket trivia to absorb. My main priority in those days was memorising Leeds United’s 1972 FA Cup winning team, along with wondering why Geoff Boycott called cricket ‘crickit’.
In my ten year old mind, the names of Harvey, Reaney, Madeley, Bremner, Charlton, Hunter, Lorimer, Clarke, Jones, Giles and Gray usurping those of Fastnet, Malin, Bailey, Lundy, Faeroes etc.
Despite this disinterest in seeking out sea areas circumnavigating the British Isles, I can’t deny listening to this maritime forecast was a calming experience. Particularly during the dark candle lit evenings of power cuts during the 1970’s miner’s strikes.
Prior to departing the marital home, the broadcasts relaxing nature led to me once utilising it as a tongue in cheek accompaniment during a ‘date-night’ in chez Strachan.
It was quite an evening. An occasion when I sought to woo my (now estranged) missus with tranquil sounds of a trawler-man being advised to give German Bight a wide berth. Well, avoid the area until the 90mph winds die down a bit anyhow.
This romantic soundscape playing out alongside candlelit dining on sea bass, whilst quaffing a cheap yet palatable cabernet sauvignon.
My spouse refused to comment, either directly or via TripAdvisor, about yours truly’s unorthodox approach that evening, Consequently, I’m unaware if the ambience provided by these nautical weather warnings met her approval.
Although, as I slept in the spare room after that fateful night until moving out, I suspect it was possibly a misguided move on my part.
To close, I’d like to clarify that Dogger Bank is a sea area. Not a financial institution patronised by exhibitionist couples……. I’m keen to avoid any potential confusion on the reader’s part.